February 2, 2023

War in Ukraine: Latest developments

Local residents examine a destroyed Russian tank outside Kyiv, from which Russian forces retreated in late March to focus on the eastern Donbas region

Local residents examine a destroyed Russian tank outside Kyiv, from which Russian forces retreated in late March to focus on the eastern Donbas region
– Copyright AFP SAEED KHAN

Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

– Ukraine to get medium-range US rockets –


President Joe Biden says the US will send more advanced rocket systems to Ukraine to help its troops repel Russian forces, who are gaining ground in the east.

Washington says the HIMARS multiple rocket launchers will allow Ukrainian forces to “more precisely strike targets on the battlefield from greater distance inside Ukraine”, but not attack Russian territory.

Kyiv’s outgunned military had been pleading for more advanced weapons to help it fend off Russia’s offensive in the eastern Donbas region.

– Russians seize ‘most’ of key eastern city –

Russian forces seize control of most of the eastern Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk, after weeks of fighting for the key industrial hub in Lugansk, one of two administrative regions that make up Donbas.

“Unfortunately, today, Russian troops control most of the city,” Lugansk governor Sergiy Gaiday says in a video.

Evacuations from the city have been halted by the fighting. On Monday, a French journalist accompanying a bus of evacuees was killed by Russian shelling.

– Chemical plant ‘hit’ –

Gaiday also says Russian forces struck a tank containing nitric acid at a Severodonetsk chemical plant, calling on residents to stay in shelters.

“For the Russian military, for Russian commanders, for Russian soldiers, any madness is absolutely acceptable,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says in a video address on Telegram.

– Ukraine to Macron: Please visit us –

Ukraine’s foreign minister asks French President Emmanuel Macron to visit the country before the end of June, when France’s presidency of the EU ends.

“It would be good that Macron came during the French EU presidency, and the best thing would be that he comes with more weapons deliveries for Ukraine,” he tells French news channel LCI.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Canadian leader Justin Trudeau, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and a host of other high-ranking European and US officials have visited Kyiv since early April.

The first senior French official to visit was new foreign minister Catherine Colonna on Monday. 

– Danish, Dutch gas supplies cut –

Danish energy company Orsted says Russian gas giant Gazprom Export will cut supplies to Denmark on Wednesday after the Danish company refused to pay in rubles.

Gazprom has cut gas supplies to the Netherlands, Finland, Bulgaria and Poland for the same reason.

– ‘Thousands’ of alleged war crimes in Donbas –

Ukraine is investigating several thousand cases of suspected war crimes in the Donbas region, Kyiv’s chief prosecutor says.

On a visit to The Hague, Ukraine’s prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova says some 15,000 cases of alleged war crimes have been reported countrywide since Russia’s invasion on February 24.

– Mariupol port resumes business – 

A Russia-bound cargo ship has left occupied Mariupol, less than two weeks after the last Ukrainian defenders of the strategic port city surrendered, the city’s new rulers say.

Dozens of container ships are blocked in Ukrainian ports which have been blockaded by Russian vessels. Russia is in talks with Turkey about creating a secure corridor for shipping companies.

Macron says he and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have urged Vladimir Putin to end Russia’s blockade of the major Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odessa under the terms of a UN resolution.

– Two more Russian soldiers convicted –

Two Russian soldiers are sentenced to more than 11 years in jail in Ukraine for breaching the rules of war by shelling civilian areas in the northeastern Kharkiv region.

Their convictions come a week after a Kyiv court sentenced a 21-year-old Russian soldier to life in prison for shooting dead an unarmed civilian on his bicycle.